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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  August 24, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EDT

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adviser and our staff. that's exist as a matter of law but john -- you have all that in the same staff as those focusing on foreign policy in africa and that kind of thing. that made sense because of the overlap between the homeland security adviser in national security advisers paul -- portfolio. the way we handled it -- juan vo me.eported to hadley and they all for that for good reason. but it means john is handling the whole raft of issues, all of which are critical. when hurricane happens, you have to drop everything to deal with that. that is tough for one person. >> is it too much? >> in some ways it is. it is too much for one person. ken have to do with it before
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him. these are >> we just saw for example, john standing next to the representative and presenting for the citizens. and that's a challenge, because john is incredibly effective, and having a white house engaged is important. but it has the character to what
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ken mentioned earlier, to diminish others in the government. because if you have foreign officials knows it's the white house that makes the decision. only the white house that they deal with, and there is a real tough balance there. you want to be effective. you want to be out there and working well with the president, and for the president. but the reality is you have to balance that with not to being too operational and too in the entirety of the government. >> right, and there is an upside and john is a de facto to yemen, he's visited the country eight times. and for a region where the overwhelm top issue is counterterrorism and to have someone take that lead role. >> couldn't agree more and john
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worked with the yemen and working with saudi arabia, and we did a lot of work on counterterrorism financing. and she helped lead and was the voice for president bush. you are right and in regimes and countries that are used of high-level head of state, head of state communication to get it done that, is effective. it starts to be problematic if it's a pervasive situation that it works. that's a challenge that the white house will have. >> quintan, can you talk about an effective system, and have you seen a relationship get stronger as they have been through crises together? can you offer reflection from the inside of that. >> i do, and john is absolutely
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amazing, and i don't say that just because i work with him. and i emphasize that john doesn't operate alone. he's brought in amazing senior directors across components of the national security staff to help him think through the various issues. and john is the first to point to people and give them the credit. they are amazing patriots and specialists on the wealth of issues that john covers. >> and on the issue that you work on, as i mentioned, it seems he's put a public emphasis on that. do you feel he gets it? and do you feel like you have real ability to do what you need to do as a result of that? >> john, again, he's had so much experience on not just al-qaeda related issues and the middle
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east. speaks arabic, and when he speaks to muslim audiences, he creates that empathetic link with the islamic. and for me to drive the counterterrorism agenda, it's useful to have someone that is incredible efficiency in the topic. you don't have to worry about getting them up to speed. it's about pushing the envelope and getting the programs running. >> yeah, i remember in the interview and going to the desert and going to the tents and roasting goats and sing songs all night. he knows the culture of the region, and that must be a real asset. the president is clearly the most interesting figure here. and we should talk about the
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presidential role in counterterrorism. it seems from the outside to have been growing and growing. and in particular the first thing that comes to mind is the discussion is president obama's role in what is called the killist. approving specific targets for drone strikes. and use that as a case study and to talk about how engaged the president should be. and some say maybe too much involvement. that we might not want the president to take that level. start on a more general level, talk about the way that the systems reach the president's desk. is it a good system now? do you guys have a sense that other windows of government and he's not asked to make too many
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decisions too frequently. do you think it's working well at this moment? >> i will start with that one, and like the relationship with the security advisor, it develops with that role. after 9/11, president bush was his declarian call to the country and to prevent the next 9/11. he poured himself into that and had a briefing every morning. and the director of the f.b.i. in his office for four or five years. and that was because he was informed about the threat and what we were doing to meet that threat and what is bubbling at that time. and he did to enforce action, he
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knew when the attorney general came back and told people that president is on this issue and this threat, that, that forced action. and recognized it was important in the years after 9/11 trying to rebuild this infrastructure. and we are doing better against al-qaeda than back then. the point is there is different agendas than the one making the decision. and the same token, you want the president to make that decision. as for covert action. he's got to make that decision. you don't want the president to make that decision and get counterterrorism 101 before that. you want them sitting in the room with officials on a regular basis, and observing this to have contacts making these
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decisions. i was glad to hear what matt olsen was talking about with the weekly meetings. it's very important for the president to be fully up to speed and engaged to make these decisions. >> what was your reaction to the stories like it, such bracing some less for the officials in this room but for average americans embracing involvement in the life and death situations. >> i won't speak to the specifics of the story but ken highlights the situation. there is a danger of having a white house or president serving as the final arbritor on all key decisions. but it becomes rutinized that
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the president is using the authority through the cabinet and legislation to the relevant chain of command. the military to the chain of defense has the ability to execute certain targets. and cia has the authority to delegate to the president. and so on down the line to the cabinet. there is something healthy about delegating the standard dimensions of operation. and the concentration for the house to ensure not only is that being done well, but what gets to the president is what needs to get to the president. but you are not overwhelming the president with day-to-day decisions. one thing that should be added to the tension and not forgotten
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is the political tension around the decisions. each and every decision revolves around counterterrorism could be relevant or explosive. depending if the operation doesn't go well or an oversight. and that's a tendency for the white house to pull the decision up to be careful of how it's executed. and part of political pressure and media tension and the white house has to resist that temptation. to suck everything in and make all the decisions. >> right and as we saw in the case, the circumstances of the interrogation became very politically explosive for weeks. >> exactly. >> and there was some evidence in polling that it played a role in scott brown's victory in massachusetts.
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in that special election there was a concern about terrorism that people contributed to that. that was an excellent point. >> can i comment on that, there was the discussion in the agencies of what to do. but a bit failure not to have the policies and procedures in place and understood beforehand. so when you captured this guy and he entered. it wasn't just business as usual. everyone understood what their responsibilities what needed to be kicked up to the staff or the president. i attribute that to less than perfect stratigizing on the front end as what a terrorism that arrive on the shore. >> don't forget the element of leadership, and it's important
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for the bureaucracy of those seeking the counterterrorism, he will make the tough decisions. he's strong. that's the laden decision, and knew he had that decision. because the president was decisive. and that image of a decisive leader that, is willing to take the tough decisions and that prevades the bureaucracy. and sends a strong message and encourages people to have an opinion. >> that's a good point. >> i won't ask you to assist to the target list of the president. and clear you don't want to go there. and having mentioned about drones and your perspective on the drone campaign and the counterterrorism operation generally. and what the blow-back effect we
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may see. and how does that affect your work particularly in the issue of drones. and we may have seen in the cases and the drone campaign was cited as a factor to kill americans. our drones a significant problem when it comes to the challenge of counter radicalization? how much do you think about that? how much do you think about that? >> al-qaeda is looking to tap into anger against the united states. they will take absolutely any issue that they think plays into a narrative of war with islam. and whether this issue or someone that effects another area. they are trying to wrap it up. and when al-qaeda is trying to radicalize and these issues,
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sometimes they are making stuff up. and not always a political issue they are going after. and in 2002 it was open and in london and u.k., there was a group outside of tubestop and they were handing out pamphlets of images of babies that were dead. it would make you sick to your stomach, and on the top it read, this is what americans are doing in iraq. i looked at the images and obviously the americans were not doing this in iraq. and i asked where this coming from, it was images of the chemical attack of osama bin laden by the kurks. and they are creative of pulling
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these issues and threading them into that single narrative. >> sigh -- i think i want to come back to the topic you raised of the president's public role. i know you are not communication professionals per se. but there was a really interesting conversation in one of the panels yesterday about the question of resilience. and the psychology of the country. whether americans are still fully braced for what is likely to come. we had a fairly fortunate reign in the last years, but we know we will get hit again. have you thought about the evolution of the way that the two presidents since 9/11 have talked about successful terr terrorism attacks.
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and what the white balance is? whether we found it? whether we are still working towards it? what is appropriate and what is not being said that needs to be said. ken, you want to try that. >> yeah, if you look at 9/11, and first you had president bush and his message was one of clarity and strength. we will stand up to the bad guys and find them and bring justice to them. and that was appropriate for the time. the american people were reeling after seeing 3,000 of our country people killed. and iconic buildings before our eyes. and we wanted strength and resolve. and with a lot of values at stake. privacy and security and everything in between. and you can't capture that in a sound byte. which is what you need to feel
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the accomplishment of the people. and how much can you say not to defend our partners this way and privacy rights this way. and all you have to do but messaging wise you have to think about that. we have seen the strong messaging right after 9/11. and as time went by, we went past the first years of 9/11 and more talk about the nuances. i think the messaging in this administration is not that different from the last. the president made it clear in his first speech in the archives we are at war with al-qaeda. and their affiliates. so they are taking their gloves off like the bush administration did messaging wise. >> but the war on terror has largely been retired.
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>> they are not using that term, and it had its place. but that seemed to suggest to people that were not adversaries but maybe were because of religion. but one of the changes we did see message wise after 9/11 was outreach to the muslim world. and that started after 9/11 when president bush went out and there was a focused effort on that after president obama came in. that helped with the muslim world and with the outreach to the foreign partners in general. and that messaging is important even though the policies have changed that much. >> did you have a reaction that the president didn't come back. he was in hawai'i the day of the christmas-day bombing, and not making a show of it. didn't come back from vacation
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and brendon was there with a tie. and in hawai'i and in a full suit. what did you think of that? and again it seems to me there is some effort to lower the temperature a bit in the way we talk about these things. does that make sense? >> i actually like that quite a bit. that the president wasn't jumping because al-qaeda said boo. i think that's very important in preserving the dignity of the presidency and the sense of american power. we are not going to let these terrorists around the world dictate where the president travels. the key thing is that we respond appropriately. i have no qualms with that at all. and i think it's appropriate. and looking back to president bush's term. he would often say to us, look, it's our job to worry about the
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worse-case scenarios and the threats. and we started every day reviewing the threats and end the night reviewing the threats. and he said it's not the job of the citizenry but our job, and not to grandize the enemy. or to give them motivation. i will give you one example where there was quite poignant. this was the rescue of the three hostages in columbia. and a daring operation, and i would ask them to put on top of the list to get at the americans and other hostages. the president was central to some of that decision making. but he didn't appear at the airport when the hostages returned and had a quiet ceremony. and part of that was not to give
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the fork and the hostage takers the gratitude of knowing the issues and the suffering they caused was reaching the heights of the white house. he did that quietly. and i think that's important. one quick point on resilience. i think it's hard for the president to talk about it, the political costs are so high, look, we are going to get hit. i appreciate secretary talking about this, and that's the kind of conversation that has to come from the ground up. from the ground up you will change the political discourse. and it's the state and local authorities that will have to deal with the fall out and resilience. and to see something and say something, that strategy needs to be evolved down. the mayors and the police chiefs have to be the face of that as the president or homeland security. >> quintan, how significant is
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the phrase of what you do. and from the government, when john brendan sends a speech, does that get noticed and trickled down? >> absolutely, i think that the president was the first state of the union speech to speak to the muslim americans. and their role in helping to keep the country safe. their cooperation with law enforcement to disrupt plots in the united states. and taking up ken's point. the shift away from the war on terror, which is this broad n neblis concept. and that allowed us to focus some of our relationships, in
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particular with muslim communities around the world on non-terrorist relationships. because it shows we have diverse relationships. and concerned about the same challenges. i think that in turn has given us entry to a lot of conversations we can have about an array of issues that we previously struggled to have. >> the war on terrorism is interesting, it's a good illustration of 9/11. it was a crisis and we reacted strongly. and there is fine-tuning to be done along the way, and that happens over time. and the war on terror is a good illustration. there was a reason for that term, what do we do to mobilize
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this, and what happened in world war ii taking on the two greatest powers in the world and destroying them. because there was a war. the war on drugs, take on the drugs. that terminology has force in it. it had real values the years after 9/11. and it can be moderated. it's a good example and why would you use that term. and there was a reason initially and now outlived the usefulness. >> can i be a contrarian on this, i think that the war on terrorism is valuable. and it was a neblish type of tactic, and not just channeling the power. but saying in the 21st century
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we can no longer accept the notion that there is legitimacy to terror. that there is any cause that allows a group or individual to allow violence to civilians for whatever purpose. that was driving the war on terror. and one challenge as we think through post-10 years and bin laden and 9/11, what are we battling. but terrorism is still out there and comes in different forms. and raises legal and policy questions. i agree that constraining the language helps. but it does a disservice of what is the future, and what is relevant for now and beyond. i am not sure that the war on
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terror works nor that the warra al-qaeda describes it either. >> can you talk about progress, and what we are confronting when you look at counter radic radicalization in this country, and there is concern of lone wolf phenomena that will get worse. do you see signs that make you feel hopeful that we are getting our arms around it? or a random thing to have limited ability to control specific to the work you are doing, give us a sense of how hopeful. hopefully you have an optimistic view of this. >> i think we have made a lot of progress in the last years in particular. speaking back to the issue of the white house's role and all of this. we were stitching together departments and agencies that
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each could tackle this from a different perspective. a lot of departments and agencies had not thought about their implications of counterterrorism, such as the extremism. and that is something that the white house helped drive in the partners, that "a," they had a role to play. and that we were not asking them to take their nonsecurity-related programs and securityize them. that was one change on our end. we developed a strategy that was released last august. and a 22-page plan that laid out actions and these are implemented. and our recognition is that a lot of this work has to be done by communities themselves.
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radicalization takes place at local levels. we don't see where al-qaeda sends out a message and people come in groves. it tends to be in local locations with community leaders and law enforcement and they have expertise in relationships. and a better capability to work with people on the ground. and another positive sign is watching law enforcement in particular stepping up and taking on this mission in an exceptional way. and our role is how to support them. and in al-qaeda you have increasing mobilization by the muslim community itself. one challenge in europe was a prominent state of the nile that anything was happening in the communities. and this made it challenging for the governments to figure how to
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tackle this. if the community is targeted by the recruiters and doesn't feel like any sort of problem. we have seen examples of muslim-american leaders taking on it themselves. and then coming to government, we want your help. it's no longer a process that we are driving this alone from the federal government. we are seeing increasing signs where the community themselves are getting active. and then reaching out to us to work with you in a manner. >> that is encouraging. one topic we can spend the entire panel on. and i want to touch on it briefly. juan, it seems that the white house is kind of muttling through the legal authority for the counterterrorism action now. jane harmon said, and i hope i
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am quoting her correctly. that the authorization of military force past 9/11 is the basis for what we are doing. and for term is that is short term framework. and now expanded across the world in north africa and has a relationship to the original text. the white house is trying to struggle with this. can you talk about that challenge, and do you think it's time for congress to provide explicit guidance? >> jane is right here. >> did i get it right? >> michael, it's a great question, the debate about whether or not you need authorization to update is important. the 2001 program is the christmas tree that we dangle
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all the things we do for the war on terror. the right of self-defense to retain and interrogate and to target our killers. but that was a document that was driven by 9/11. it was a reaction to 9/11, and the perpetrators of 9/11 and al-qaeda. and it's long overdue beyond the lens of al-qaeda. but an open-odds debate about what is our contention policy for the long term. they have asked for a tribunal for a head. and that's a serious question, do we target this to these leaders, and perhaps we should. but we haven't had that debate. the changing nature of the
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threat itself, you have a different al-qaeda. and hesbollah and the debate. i would challenge the president in may, 2009, pledged to go to congress to deal with long term terrorism. it hasn't happened. the responsibility on the hill to do this? i think realistically it won't happen this term. but it's a serious debate of what we are facing and the threats. >> there is a panel tomorrow that looks at the legal issues. people can dive deeper then. why don't we take some questions. >> richard from the united
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nations. very interested to hear about the country's extremism initiatives. so many things you can do in so many parts of the world. how do you set your priorities and measure the impact? >> that's a really good question, and there has been an evolution in the way we approached this issue. in the early days when we started working on count counterterrorism and it was regional and counter messaging. and some problematics of development and other capabilities and tools. but over time we realized that the threat of violent radicalizati radicalization, we saw hot-spots where you had people engaged in recruit amement and he had a wi
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known case with people going into spain and to fight into iraq. >> and eastern libya. >> eastern libya as well. the advantage for us, we have moved to a much more surgical nuance approach. once we identity a hot-spot radicalization, we move to that community. we understand who are the key motivators and the violators and the radicalization that appears. and those leading where they are able to plan whole government resources to target those specific locations. with just about every tool that we have. it's no longer one intelligence agency doing it. it's state department with doe
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and department of education appropriate, and what we are finding now is that the impact is more robust. when you focus on a much tighter area, it's easier to know your impact and to control for other factors that may have something do with the radicalization process. >> josh from the national security initiative. it seems with drone strikes and more military emphasis on the war on terrorism, still years after 9/11, one that we are missing is an international law component. i think there is frustration with law enforcement and there is no mechanism overseas for
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arresting terrorists through the law enforcement community. i wondered what you thought about that. and part of obama's signing of t the radicalization act. >> i would disagree, and we have fought in iraq. but i would disagree. i think that if sean joyce were back in here from the f.b.i., he would talk about the robust international relationships they have built. and not just the f.b.i. but the department of homeland security are not just relationships but posted abroad. the idea of pushing borders out have lead to key ports of exit and entry. so i don't agree. and you see what is interesting of the threats and tied with
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west africa. and the al-qaeda group tied to drug trafficking. you have agencies like the dea getting involved internationally. and if you look, and josh you know this, over the past two years dea has done remarkable work in bringing justice in new york taliban traffickers, luring them out of new york and other places. and including victor booth. i would disagree with the premise, i think there is robust information sharing. how you deal with long-term information for dangerous terrorists. for whom you don't have evidence in any court, that's the real co
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co condundrum and the problem of the administration of dealing with these long-term threats. >> hi, david, i worked with ken and juan in the bush white house. there are many issues that are urgent. some of them are very important. some of them are not important at all in the grand scheme of things. but those nonimportant, urgent issues can assume an enormous amount of staff time and energy. ken and juan, as you look back on your time, what encouragement do you have to members the government to maximize and being strategic. and focusing on what really matters and not getting distracted from the overall ability to serve the president
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and the american people effectively. thank you. >> you put your finger on an interesting point, because you lived it and saw it. david is homeland security council, everything of homeland security came through him. and someone to calibrate as a bureaucratic anywhere. you are trying to calibrate of the urgent things that you have to deal with then and there. and there are long-term strategic problems that need to be made. and the danger is those get drowned out because you are dealing with the fires. and the second issue, this is where you are going, dave, you do the bureaucratic churn. and i think of a couple of examples. for instance, dealing with the bio-threat. in the bush administration we spent a lot of time to deal with the bio-threat of weapons of
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mass destruction. it was a real concern. the graham mission has banged that drum. because we were not prepared to deal with that. and because it wasn't intermediate and nothing on the horiz horizon, it took a while to get that action. if there is one answer and as security advisory or president, you make sure you have good people around you. because that security advisor will get pulled away on the crisis de jure, and you need someone to mind the shop. >> real quickly. >> i think trust in the professionals in the departments and agencies who are charged with the issues that are
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critical. there is another example, it's a category of activities that you are not sure if it's important until you run it through. and the white house can't ignore it. the best example is one i was personally involved in, october 2005. and a detector goes off, and the problem was that the department of energy had just put in the monitor. we didn't have the full system in place. we didn't have the cameras or the tracking system, and didn't know what the heck caused it. and for two weeks straight out of the white house, we were coordinating the efforts of the infrastructure to figure out what caused that alarm. we had riddled it down to 17 ships and five ships and two of them were headed to new york. we had no idea what was on it, and no idea if it was real or not. and at the end of the day it was
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scrap metal. but we didn't know until we boarded all ships and it took two weeks of our time nonstop. >> quickly. >> as a vietnam vet, going back to a president picking targets, everyone is familiar with president johnson picking targets in vietnam. now the critique is that he missed the big picture. and now we have president obama picking targets in satir and spending time on kill lists. and no surge put forward by the administration, it had a military surge. but not political surge to bring this watch to a reasonable conclusion. do you have comments on president obama's involvement in
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the kill list? >> i don't know about his involvement or noninvolvement on the kill list. but to your point what is the administration doing to try to bring this war to an end. by use of drone attacks they are having that impact. because of everything that has been done since 9/11 and including the drones recently. >> and one closing thought on the future of counterterrorism, do did you feel there is an increasing side of your work, the nonconetic side of it. is that more of the future of this field? >> i hope so, i think it's tied through the success of the mechanisms and the means. and back to a point that juan was imitating. and the sides is important of the groups we aare facing
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domestically and abroad is prone to change. if you talk to the law enforcements about the extremism types that are concerned about. it's violent supremacy groups and targeting law enforcement. we try to make sure that it's a broad approach to different threats. d.c. to is just beginning to
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. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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panelists. the remainder of the time will be reserved for questions, which start with who, where, what, when, why, how, not on vacation. i also want to ask -- not pontificate should. i also want you to turn off the ringers on your pagers and cell
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phones. we do not want to be rude to our speakers while they are talking. dr. welner? >> thank you, jamila. thank you. good morning, everyone. education is shaping up to be a major issue in this education cycle, in this election cycle -- excuse me. the president has devoted this past week agitation, starting with a radio address on saturday -- this past week to education, starting with a radio address on saturday, continuing to the swing to ohio, and, yesterday, in las vegas talking about budget cuts and class size. school choice is a big part of the education discussion. governor romney has made the voucherization of title 1 and i.d.e.a. a special centerpiece of his policy. what he is promoting is federal
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vouchers. his proposed policies would mark a huge change in the paroled. president obama -- in the federal role. president obama has strongly supported school choice, particularly charter schools. he wants to scale up nonprofit management organizations that are thought to be successful in working with students in high- poverty communities. but, as we will discuss, vouchers and charter schools are only two of the many types of school choice. one voucher or charter policy can look and act very differently from another. what is school choice? how can we most sensibly understand and use school choice? gary miron and two of our colleagues -- we set out to answer that. our project resulted in the book
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that jamila bey just mentioned, "exploring the school choice universe." the main rationale for the project was that, while there are other school choice books, they cover only one or two topics or one or two types of choice. first thing we did was think about all the issues prompted by choice-based policies. is surprising how many issues there are. we have basic philosophical and democracy issues. we have questions about legality and litigation, about how parents make choices, who chooses and why, how choice schools are held accountable, how choice is funded, what incentives arise out of those funding choices. teacher quality issues. questions about innovation and innovativeness. effects on segregation and
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stratification. the competition in effect. and effects on measured student outcomes. what is the research -- what is the evidence based on all of these issues? we started this thing about, what do we mean by "school choice"? it is not one single thing. we identified a half dozen different types of choice. charters and daughters were two of those. we also pointed -- charters and vouchers or two of those. we also point to homeschooling, cyber-schools, open-enrollment policy is, between-district school choice, and tuition tax credits that provide a public subsidy to private school tuition, similar to vouchers. i call these neo-vouchers.
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before i hand thsi over to gary -- this over to gary, i want to give preliminary answer to the question "what is school choice." in reality, it is a broad policy tool that can be included as part of a complete policy -- a complete education policy. it is not a policy in itself any more than professional development is a policy in itself. at the most basic level, school choice is simply an approach to student assignment. i might tell you, for instance, i favor school choice. my state and can be coherent in the sense that i might be a libertarian -- my statement can be coherent in the sense that i might be a libertarian. but your next question should be, how do you favor structure in or using school choice?
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what does your policy, using school choice, actually look like? let me and with something that i hope will provoke some conversation -- let me end with something that i hope will provoke some conversation. it seems like our politicians and candidates for office are not asking these questions. it seemed like it are wrongly looking at school choice as a policy, not as a tool -- it seems like they are wrongly looking at school choice as a policy, not as a tool. we have policies that have a set of rules arrived at by default or political pressure, rather than careful and evidence-based collaboration. if we do not ask the right questions, we do not tend to get the right answers. thank you. gary? >> thanks. good morning, everyone. i want to cover three general points.
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i want to talk about the arguments for and against school choice. i want to share a few comments about the overall prevalence of school choice, how many students are participating. and i also want to talk about the point of the importance for policymakers to be thoughtful as they plan, develop and implement a school choice programs. one of the key arguments that we see about school choice is that it will bring in that entrepreneurial. and-- entrepreneurial spirit to our education system. on the other side, opponents say that competition also comes with profit-making. we are bringing in private groups that are going to bring that entrepreneurial. -- entrepreneurial spirit and there will be winners and losers. there is also concern that we will lose control of the schools mostly through privatization. another argument for school choice is the way that -- when
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parents can look at their students unique needs -- students' unique needs, they can identify the schools that will be most useful to their students' learning styles. they can be matched with students and we will have better schools. that is one argument for. another -- on the other hand, opponents say the sorting -- school choice can promote segregation by race, class, by ability, and by the language of instruction. this is something opponents are concerned about. on the one hand, some of the arguments for are about quality. this is a way to pursue quality. opponents say -- a quality. we have to be concerned about the quality -- opponents say
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equality. we have to be concerned about the qualitequality. we want to provide a better basis for policy makers and others as they think thoughtfully about school choice. let's talk about problems and how many students we had in school choice programs -- let's talk about prevalence and how many students we have in school choice programs. close to 30% of the nation's public school students are choosing another school than the one-day are assigned to. over the years, there has been -- other than the one-da they ae assigned to. we have a chart that depicts different types of enrollment.
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it is the intradistrict with programs where most of choice is taking place. close to 9 million students are participating in that type of choice. there is a new program -- new reforms taking off. charter schools continue to grow as an option. today, about 1.9 million of our students in the nation are in charter schools. homeschooling we consider as an option of choice. we have about 2 million students in the nation not participate in home schooling. this is more than what we see in many other nations. that is about 3% of the students in the nation who are in home schooling. we have a couple of the things that are growing more rapidly, particularly virtual schools. today, they number about 250,000 students. it is growing rapidly. we are seeing more attention to this, especially with many states lifting their caps on virtual schools.
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when a virtual school opens, they can often open with 4000 to 5000 students in the first year. some of them grow to be more than 11,000 students in just a few years. alas part i want to take up is about the need for more thoughtful policy making -- last part i want to take up is about the need for more thoughtful policy making. last year, i shared testimony about the importance of a thoughtful policy-making when it comes to school choice. the senator who was sponsoring the bill to lift the cap on charles tools and virtual schools in michigan -- on charter schools and virtual schools in michigan said i was against school choice. what am i supposed to tell these 40 families who have researched and found a really successful charter school? he was suggesting he did not think those families should be able to take care -- take a
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vintage of that choice. i was very polite, but i -- take advantage of that choice. i was very polite, but i reminded him of all the other families and students who are left behind. we have to thinkbout all of these groups. if we are going to look at the education system as a whole, we do not want it to be winners and losers. we want to find a way that the system can serve all. in the book, we encourage policymakers to revisit the overall goals for our education system. looking at that goals, then go ahead and plan, design, and implement school choice reforms that are 1 to pursue those goals -- are going to pursue those goals. do not let school choice be an end to itself, but a tool to pursue those common goals and also to pursue the best interests for all students. thanks. >> thank you, dr. miron.
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let's go down the line. let's have you, dr. adam schaeffer, a policy analyst at the center for educational freedom at cato. >> my perspective is different -- ok. all right. we are on the opposite side of the school choice issue a lot of times. i find that i often agree with you on some particulars. not surprising, one of those things i agree on is the interesting aspect of education tax credits. vouchers get the lion's share of the attention. it is a great overview of what is going on in that policy space. you hit on something that is increasingly important and has been the concern of my own.
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choice is not a policy. there is a huge amount of diversity in the choice policy space. i would disagree a little bit in the fact that i think it can be a policy. saying i support school choice is almost meaningless. randi weingarten of the teachers' union, the most ardent free marketers -- they say they support school choice. what does it mean? does it have any meaning left? i think not. you have to look at the specific policies. charter schools are still government schools. the approval of pedagogical approach rests on the authority of a government-sponsored board. private schools cannot apply, obviously. private operators can run the school. they cannot teach religion in the school. the diversity is limited by the prospective and vision of the
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charter of the risers -- charter authorizers, ultimately. the vouchers open up options in the private sphere, but doctors use government funds. -- but vouchers used government funds. this usually provides accountability of some sort to taxpayers who fund the program. tax credits are entirely funded within the private sphere and distributed through private, nonprofit organizations. the taxpayer is allowed to direct those funds to the school that comports with their values and they think is doing a good job. there are layers of private accountability there. accountability directly to the taxpayer that does not necessitate this regulatory structure that we find, invariably come in dr. schools -- invariably, in voucher s
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chools. everyone is a choice supporter. we have to decide what kind of supporter we are. it is not good enough to say i support school choice. we need to get into the nitty gritty of the policy details, what is really going on. there is a huge variation. charter authorizers. how a charter can be revoked. how often that happens. on what criterion. what kind of regulatory structure do we have for voucher schools to assure that there is accountability to the taxpayers? is parental choice enough? there is a huge fight in indiana right now over this question. should creational schools be allowed to participate in the voucher programs?
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should islamic scools? -- schools? with education tax credits, are three layers of accountability enough? is that enough for us to be happy with? i think this is important. the outcomes of these programs, in terms of their impact on achievement and other measurable affects on student performance, on graduation rates, is hugely important. as you pointed out, people support different policies for multitude of reasons. the ability of a parent to take control of their child's
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education and direct it in a way they see fit is a hugely important thing and something that should be a huge part of the consideration, not just get lost in these metrics. i would point out there is the release of a study looking at the graduation of fact of the voucher program -- private-about your program in new york city. these kids -- private-voucher program in new york city. these kids are going to college. i will leave it at that. i think we probably have a lot to discuss. i encourage everyone to take a look at this and really consider the differences between these different options. it is not just a name. it is not just increasing choice. all these systems have potentially radically different results. thank you very much.
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>> hi. i am alex medler. i find the book interesting. i recommend you dig into the details. i will speak a little bit about choice in the journal and more about -- in general and more about charters. i agree that a key lesson we should take from this is that details matter, policy matters, structures matter. and i would add that who is acting matters. for the last few that have come out, author risers -- authorizers do not even make it into the index, not to mention getting their own chapter. the spirit is correct, that we need to look at the details. we need to look at who is acting. one of the things that is
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important, as you look at more different topics and you take into account different purposes, it becomes harder to simplify and to say, what is the bottom line. for a reporter or policy maker who says, is it working or not, it depends on what you think working is and what your goal was. that is a frustrating answer, but it is pointing to where some promise is. it has some promise when we realize -- the decisions that, let's say, a school board or commissioner of education makes about whether to approve a particular charter school affect that school. they need policies and tools which help them make individual decisions. those individual decisions, just like in markets of choice -- the actions of policymakers come together to get the overall picture. charter schools, on average, perform equal or better than traditional schools. that is not such an important question. what is important is the
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distribution of the schools. the fact that we have too many bad charter schools, but a bunch of good schools -- that is something we can act on. we cannot act on the data that charter schools, on average, are a little bit better than worse. we will never get rid of the charter school. we will never get rid of tories. it is already there. people want it. -- never get rid of choice. the policy is in how people make those individual decisions and decide which school should close, open, and replicate. those decisions can be informed by real data, too. i am impressed by asking, let's understand the nuances and the difference. i agree with the conclusion that
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policy matters and the tells matter -- and details matter. let's say there are 10,000 people choosing the school. i would argue that we should add everybody who bought a house in that area. housing is one of the most segregated things by race and class in america. there is no option to not choose your school. you do so when you choose where you live. that is a very inequitable choice the first place. i look forward to the rest of the discussion. i am curious to see which of these we can dive into today, knowing that we cannot get into so much of the meat. there is a lot that is worth exploring and getting down to a finer level -- worth exploring. getting down to a finer level is where this book is going in the
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right direction. >> good morning. i think because i am the furthest from the phd, i get to speak from the ground a little bit more. we work locally with urban districts, primarily, on community issues associated with education reform. a lot related to facilities, as it works out. we have ended up in this choice space because of the educational-facility planning issues and also because of the policy issues related to planning. one of the things -- as we look at choice, we see it as a discussion related to brown v. board. it was a student-assignment case that went to the supreme court. it is obviously a very contentious thing, student assignment. choice itself is a very contentious issue, not just about personal choice, but also about the set of systems that
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can respond to that. in the district of columbia right now, the chancellor is just going to start a process of looking at the student assignment policies and the choices that parents have. one of the things we have looked out already, to some extent, the data -- what we are finding is, who is really choosing? of the parents the ones controlling that choice -- are the parents the ones controlling the choice? is it the operators? in the district of columbia, you have the right to get in a lottery, but you do not have the right to stay at that school. there are several differences. i am delighted to learn about the book. for the communities on the ground trying to figure out where kids get to go, who is going where, we really do need this larger frame to look at it. it is not necessarily as
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ideologically-framed. greater equity? better quality? hm. sometimes, sometimes not. it is a very complicated issue. i think that one of the things we are very concerned about is that we actually think that democratic process is associated with navigating these various reasons to have a choice system -- that needs to be at the heart of it. it is not clear. it is not simple. parents who should have the forum to look at religious differences or quality differences or instructional program differences -- they should do that, but they should be doing that in public space around a publicly-government -- we believe -- and elected body
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that really is trying to navigate our biases, our values, and is part of what makes us a community. some of what we have seen in the district of columbia -- and we are working with folks in chicago and in new york city -- is that, when the system is defined to be, what is the best choice for your child, as opposed to sit in -- to the citizenry saying, how to we want the next generation to learn from the knowledge -- how do we want the next generation to learn from the knowledge we have acquired and how do we want our communities to be calm and that we have really lost the fabric to community that is the essential -- to be, that we have really lost the fabric to community that is essential to society. one of the characteristics of choice is that it is not placed-
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based. -- place-based. there are enormous issues around the segregation of our communities. in many places, our communities might be more integrated and our schools. -- integrated than our schools. wrestling with that is part of what we're doing. other cities and communities are trying to figure this out. i think it is a real service, or honestly. hopefully, we will be able to translate the word you have done and get it in the hands of districts and communities -- the work that you have done and get in the hands of districts and communities. thank you. >> thank you, one and all. let's open the floor for questions. we have a bit of time. let's get started. all right. i guess --
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>> can i jump in? i want to pick up on the last zero that was made. -- the last point that was made. in a lot of cases, what we see in choice schools is an application of the stratification we see in neighborhoods. school choice advocates look at segregated areas and said, hey, it does not have to be this way. we do not have to have neighborhood assignment. we can open this up. that will alleviate a lot of what we see -- i think it was what alex mentioned. you buy a house that is in a neighborhood that serves a particular school. it does not have to be that way. the idea of using school choice to alleviate neighborhood segregation was part of the initial motivation. it is depressing that we see the
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opposite happening, that we see a layer above -- of stratification. we're talking about stratification not just of racially-a identifiable school, but also by class, test score, english language ability, special means -- not just of racially-identifiable schools, but also by tass, test scores, english-language ability, special needs. when we talk about the overall patterns, that is what we see. it does not have to be that way. we can design school choice plans with our goal in mind and then work backward to how we structure the role of choice within a policy. omaha, nebraska, has an
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interdistrict programs that serve to alleviate stratification and segregation. other places have tried this. there is a plan in north carolina which uses family income and wealth as a tool within the choice plan to make sure that schools are not as stratified. it is important to think of school choice as something that can be inserted in a plan that can accomplish larger goals that we have as a society. one of those can be raised -- segregation, stratification. >> this is ducktails -- this dovetails with something that struck me, the assignment of children to schools. that term, student assignment,
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i find really offensive. the notion that some government board or political board or whomever it is is assigning your child to the place that they are supposed to learn. when people talk about larger goals, serving a larger goals of society, especially in the context of using your children to pursue those larger goals, i get very nervous. are any of these larger goals more important or, for that matter, better served by a government's structuring a plan that it is for a parent to have their child pursue the goal of having their life be as best it can? parents have a greater incentive to pursue these goals.
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it does not get lost in the system. when we talk about student assignment and serving the larger goals of society to the environment they are supposed to be in for 12 years as the basis for their life outcome, that makes me really concerned. >> there is compulsory attendance in the united states, virtually state-by-state. parents are compelled to send their children to school. essentially, the government body is a locally -- in most instances, a locally-elected school board. well i know that you would think of government as -- whil i know -- while i know thqat you would think of government as "evil, bad," it represents the collective view.
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>> do you think a collective you should raise our children? but that they are not -- collective view should raise our children? >> but they are not education our children. >> i would like to address another specific piece of what you just said. card -- charter schools of the rise -- charter schools of the rise and -- charter school authorizers. when we have a goal like "make sure schools are not stratified," there is no abstaining or redesigning. there are 1000 entities who have
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to make yes-or-no votes. denver assigned technology to create a more diverse school. they had decades of white flight. the intentionally put it in a place -- they designed a program that would be representative of denver's population. west denver prep has almost 100% low-income minority kids. it has incredible results. proficiency rates you would not see elsewhere. that school is intentionally all more one race and one poverty level. if we are going to make sure
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schools are not ratified, would you have denied one of them? denver looked at those decisions and said, we need more elementary schools that serve ell kids and we need them in this area. they are creating more schools with similar results. those schools are also all minority. is not a bad thing for the society? should we weigh the -- is that a bad thing for the society? should we waive the greater the greatgood -- weigh t er societal good? for the school board member, should i have more good ones and fewer bad ones? >> to dr. miron. >> that is the crux of the issue -- values.
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we talk about how important it is for government and policy makers to articulate goals and carefully implement plans, but it is really about values and whether we see education as a public good or a private good. adam is talking very much about the private good. parents. some kids will get good options. some will not. we believe school choice can serve both. it can serve the public's broader goals. there can be a thoughtful charter school initiative or a thoughtful use of planning that can serve the public good and still promote choice options, but still pursue those publicly- stated goals that are envisioned to serve all students. >> so, the public good versus
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private good thing is a serious issue. but, in my mind, the public good is a byproduct of the private good. the public good are the ramifications of -- the benefits of children being better educated and having a better life outcomes. externalities of those. that is a good argument for subsidizing public education, especially for low-income children. no one is arguing that. people who supported vouchers or tax credits -- these are ways of ensuring that even the poorest are ensured enough funding an opportunity to get a good education. in other words, there is no conflict between the public good, which is a better- educated, more fulfilled citizenry. that is the product of good
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education. what system gives us the best education? what system is the most feasible? you could do a class-size reduction and spend billions more to get it down to like five kids per class. you could try interdistrict choice or charter schools. sometimes, there is evidence that magent -- magnet schools or charter schools better. i look at the random-assignment studies. they demonstrate, if you want to, for less money, if you want long-term achievement impact, you go with -- the net effect is positive or a wash, at worst. these are tiny programs that could not even remotely be
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called a true market. the question for me is what public good or what public purpose is there beyond a better-educated populace? if we do go beyond those, what right does the government have to decide, well, your child should not have religious education, or they need and have only this pedagogical approach -- they need to have only this pedagogical approach? >> there is a lot there, adam. part of it is that claims about outcomes of different choice programs are really problematic. there is a chapter written by gary. it walks through all the different studies of different types of choice. charter schools. -- charter schools and vouchers have been studied a lot, particularly charter schools.
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other types of school choice have not been studied nearly as well. in terms of really being able to make strong judgments about how well they are doing. with regard to charters and the conventional vouchers, i think a wash is the most global statement we could make. there have been a lot of voucher studies. in the analyses done -- we often see re-analysis of the same data reaching different conclusions from the original authors. even those studies tend to show a wash with occasional bilps -- blips of success. >> that this is not the case, actually. balance of the studies -- small,
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but significant impact. they are called "meta-studies." >> meta analyses are very different. >> i understand that, but when you look at the totality, it is, at worst, a wash. the schools are keeping up with improvements from competition in the private sector. there is an extremely good study on the florida program. it is a tax-credit program showing that the students maintained parity with equivalent students in the public schools. >> so, i -- >> it is getting hot and heavy up here. >> i will not go back and forth. clearly, we disagree. i also want to get to this issue. >> what do we disagree on?
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>> quite a bit, actually. the main point you report -- you make is . joyce's driving the overall public good. there was a cartoon -- the main public -- the main point you make is parent choice driving the overall public good. there was a cartoon -- "it wasn't our first choice in school, but we had a groupon for it, so what the hell." [laughter] sometimes choices parents make are strong the evidence-based, sometimes they are nonsensical -- are strongly evidence- based, sometimes they are
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nonsensical. also, knowledge and skill and understanding information are not always available. alex medler and i go bac kk a decade or so. we have had a lot of conversation about this topic of how do we make school choice most effective across our society, how do we overcome these kinds of obstacles that some parents face and other parents do not. >> i want mary to respond. and i will go to the audience for questions. >> for me, the argument about who is getting the better test scores should not be the heart
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of it, especially when we are, for the most part, talking about margins in any of these systems. it is a marginal change. i would argue that -- again, the importance of voice and communities really wrestling with these things is critical to what we are as a society, to not stratifying by religion, to not stratifying by race, to not stratifying by income or culture. this is spoken as a parent who went through d.c. public schools with three of my children in a bilingual setting where they are mostly salvadoran refugees and african americans. there was enormous value to us wrestling with trying to understand each other's culture and values.
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i think we tend to want to go to our comfort zones. i think part of what public education does -- and i think some of the charter schools work at it intentionally. i would argue that many of the traditional public schools do not do it well. it is not that it is solved there, but i think that wrestling with this in the community is an absolutely essential part of why we are a civil society, at best. and what we need to do in order to retain some of that stability. -- civility. >> we're going to ask you, sir, to ask your question. wait for the microphone. thank you. >> i have a couple of questions. i don't think i need it. are there many schools that you
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enter by taking a test? you would get integration that way. for example, a school i am familiar with in cincinnati, you have to take a test to get intot th -- into that school. that school has been there for, i think, many decades, and it seems to work well. that is one question. the other is, when you have these stratified schools, all white, all black, are the faculty's integrated -- faculties integrated? in an all white school, do you have many african-american teachers? and vice versa.
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>> i can take both of those on really quickly. the second question, in general, the teaching force seems to be a lot more white and female than the overall student body. there are schools, particularly, i think, some charter schools serving areas that are largely latino or largely african- american will make an effort to have the teaching force that is more reflective to that population. teach for america, for example, another organization, has tried to diversify the teaching force a little more. there are -- there is some recognition of that and some attempt to address it, but, overall, the teaching population tends to be more female and why. -- white. there are new york city test-
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based schools. there have been several attempts to try to tease out what is going on in terms of equity at those schools, in terms of whether or not that test-based process is fair and equitable to students. in new york, we see a lot of whiter and wealthier student populations than in the city as a whole. the measurement precision of those tests that are used tend to have a wide error band. if you think about presidential polling where they talk about plus or minus five, you have students being included or excluded from those schools when there is really no difference in their test scores. >> ok. thank you. >> my question is for alex and gary.
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alex, you talked about the importance of the role of authorizers. and you argue they need a chapter, if not more. the importance of them being able to close down low- performing charters. in states like ohio, michigan, florida, arizona, we see an extraordinary number of very low-performing charters that are not being closed down. i think gary has written about this. i would like your perspective. your work for the national association of chartered authorizers. what are you doing to encourage them to close down low- performing charters? >> that is an excellent question. we are doing credited. we share the observation that there are too -- we are doing quite a bit. we share the observation that
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there are too many charter schools that are operating that should not be. it depends on the number and proportion. it will change dramatically. wherever you go, there are charter schools that are unlikely to close. i asked people, in your state, how many charter schools are operating that he would not send your kids or your friends kids to -- that you would not send your kids or your friend's kids to? there are almost non that are closed for the wrong reason. we need to ratchet up -- almost none that are closed for the wrong reasons. we need to ratchet up the tools. we need to have them have performance frameworks that measure, with the balanced scorecard, a number of measures.
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we try to match those to the contracts. we work with state policy makers to recognize the legitimacy of those contracts and expectations. we work with it to give the authorizers the information they need and make clear the process is not about who screens the loudest, but what is best for kids -- who screams the loudest, but about what is best for kids. they need to have the will. there are things you can do in policy and practice and collectively with communications to make it happen more often. we are encouraged that it can happen and we're working on it a lot in the next few years. >> when we look at charter school results, it is important to recognize there are very big differences between states. when we talk about those differences, some states are doing better than others. in part, i think it comes back
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to the values issue. when we see bipartisan support for a charter school law, we tend to see smaller numbers of charter schools and more of a focus on oversight and quality. what we see a more partisan approach, we often see the values and in -- values coming in, the belief through competition. the more we get, the more competitive pressure will be applied to the public schools. only look at the overall evidence, the states with the largest charter schools -- when we look at the overall evidence, and the states with the largest number of charter schools tend to perform less school. it is the states with the smaller numbers and foreclosures th -- and more closures that perform well. it is important to send a signal that schools will be held accountable for their charter could be revoked -- accountable
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or their charter could be revoked. there are successful charter schools that are often overlooked because so much attention is put on the schools that are scandal-ridden and struggling. >> i would like to add one other point. i do not disagree with what you are saying. we have some states with such weak or tied laws that nothing is happening -- or tight laws that nothing is happening. you need it to be on merit. i would agree that quality control matters a lot. we want there to be a large, vibrant, successful charter sector. there are amazing comic innovative things going on in the chartered space -- there are amazing, innovative things going on in the charter space. if we can address the problems of failing and festering charter
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schools, those rock stars and innovations will be much more credible. policy makers will not put the clamps on them. the impact will be much greater. we consider the activity to strengthen the closures and to strengthen the reader is a very pro-chartered -- the rigor is a very pro-charter step. >> there is an interesting tidbit. i would use life skills charter in denver, which i think was finally closed down last year, but the process took, like, five years. one of the things that was going on there also raises an issue we are seeing with cyber-charters. they were a mission-driven school, reaching out to kids who would not be successful at any school. what we are trying to do is not so much be a last-chance school, but a school that is driven to serve a particular part of the
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population. of course we are going to have low scores. we have recently worked with cyber-charter schools, and we hear the same complaints. when you look at the outcomes of these large for-profit companies operating cyber-charters, we see very poor measured outcomes. a big part of the response has been, well, that's because kids to -- who opt in are not successful in britain order schools. we are serving -- in brick and mortar schools. we are serving a population that would have low scores. let's see where the kids start out. let's see where they move. another part of serving a disadvantaged community -- there is a question as to how disadvantaged the cyber population really is. we also see it there is a lot of
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mobility. kids moving in and out a lot. that makes it very hard to measure growth. the kid who was there last year or even this fall is not necessarily there in the spring. you have issues with attrition and selection that are very difficult when you're talking about figuring out whether these schools really are doing well. that is part of the reason it is difficult to close some of them. they have a response to the simple "your kid's test outcomes," for example. >> extremely at risk kids are a challenge in the space. states and communities need to wrestle with what is it we expect and what we want to do when a young person is 18 years old to 20 years old, 16 years old to 20 years old, still entitled to go to the public schools, still reading at a fifth grade level. what can you do before they
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turned 21? first, we need to figure out which schools, districts, charter, cyber, are serving populations this challenged. we need to decide what it is we expect schools to achieve if we are going to evaluate them for it. denver, at school, they used a performance framework. the state develop a definition of what counts as a school that is an alternative-definition campus. they rate the schools so you can see the distribution among schools that serve kids that challenged. if you wrestle with the values about what to achieve and what to expect, and putting tools place -- tools in place to measure it, you can act. >> to circle back to one of the things that keeps coming up -- who decides. who decides where parents are allowed to go or what is a good
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school? the groupon comment about a parent choosing a school because -- it is agroupon joke, but there is a sick underbelly to that. too many parents are stupid and careless with their children. they do not have enough information, they do not care enough they're not smart to figure out what is best for their children. i find it really offensive. most parents care enough about their child and know enough to determine better or worse. we see this in voucher programs and charter school programs where parents line up around the block for lotteries to try to get the kid in a school they know is better that is -- better
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than where they currently are. that is the fact of life for a lot of kids at the lower end there are parents who are hopeless lost causes. up here not talking about people on the farm margins. but for the vast majority of low-income families, they do know enough to know better or worse. even the cheapest car on the market today will still get you to work. that's not true of education. the worst schools, a lot of them in this country, do not educate children to a degree where they can function at a basic level as citizens in this country. that the framework we are talking. about i want to really high like that, because sometimes it gets glossed over a, saying parents are stupid. >> what can they do? >> the question is whether they
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are more likely to choose the in the current system or if they are better at discriminating than a government-appointed board or a government-authorized board? >> we're running out of time. i need you to be brief. >> i can be brief sometimes. adam has a strong skill at pulling my chain. i think it's very important to understand we are starting off by assuming every parent fears about their child. there are some who are dysfunctional. it's not a matter of caring. it's a matter of efficacious ness. the solution is not to figure out a way to make every parent make the right decision between a good school and a bad school. a solution is to have a system that drives all schools toward
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excellence rather than a system that stratifies between using the example of the mercedes and the hugo. if we have kids in the hugo class room, we have a problem. whether that can about through a traditional assignment process or a school choice process, it's a problem. understanding that choice is just a tool to get us there helps us to shape policy so we get there. >> thank you. ok. >> i want to fault on what he said but adds something related to the campaign this fall. i find the automobile analogy really bad. if i'm buying a car i looked at the kelly blue book and re-book are pages and look at consumer reports. there's ways on reading a car on performance and quality and what people gag about them.
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one of the earlier questions it, people were rattling off states. i was struck by how many of those states are states in play in this fall campaign like florida and ohio. it just seems like in many of these states that are in play, this choice debate is really going on. i know that there have been reports that cyber schools are doing terrible in michigan and pennsylvania, but they were expanded there. before the education commissioner just resigned over questions about assessments, i think. it seems like people are out there in the state's very confused about this issue, and in particular how to gauge schools, whether it's right for their children. just another observation. when i was in pennsylvania couple weeks ago i saw more
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commercials for k-12 than for the presidential campaigns in a state that is a key state. if i was a parent watching tv, that looked like a car commercial to me, not a way to independently assess whether that was the right school. for my school. >> i just wanted to respond to the car analogy and to your statement that is a problem for kids to be in a hugo. the cheapest cars on the road today are more reliable than a 30 years ago. something's to consider, whether it has leather interior, how fast can it go, a lot of the aspects of cars and the differential between them are the bells and whistles and things not central to their functionality. right now we are talking about whether we have functional
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education for poor children, and we don't. even the poorest family in a market has access generally not to functional items. if you subsidize that, then they can buy with the middle class can buy. i don't think the distinction is as big as you think. we are never going to eliminate differences between people. people have tried to eliminate poverty and the generally ends up with a lot of dead people. can we make this better and do the private-sector alternatives to a better job delivering what we all walked? fair to sayt's there is hyperbole. >> let me speak to the one part of the question about what is happening during the campaign
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season and what's going on here. hats off to the editors of this book for trying to focus empirically and to explain there are many differences to this, big challenges, nuances, hard to do in a book. for a campaign it harder to get down to the sound bites. it is the sound bites that are likely to appeal to people's values. i come from colorado, where we have as many people in charter schools as we do exercising district choice. we have a ton of people making choices. when you talk to parents they don't really think about which type it is and what movement they are part of, very often. they pick schools and move around and go to them. the evolution -- the school board members say that i cannot really be opposed to all family exercise in choice. it's different than it was -- it has shifted over time. the public is looking for
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schools that they want to be good. sometimes we have rhetorical debate that gets off on particular is without realizing most people just want good schools and they are looking for quality and other things they value. are making choices through a variety of mechanisms. people who are governing these systems, they deal with the details and the politicians support choice and good schools in general and that bipartisan. presidents have supported charter schools since the movement got started. both parties, multiple administration's. it's been a bipartisan ding especially at the national level. >> yes, and i would still say that the debate should be alive and well, because i am not sure it is sustainable. i'm not sure that the position of the president and the bipartisan thing that you should grow the charter sector is really sustainable. i'm not sure that it does not
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create more stratification, that does not create more confusion for parents. i would really question, as we work with districts where they have been closing and turnaing around schools, whether it's philadelphia or new york or newark or pittsburgh, parents holler about it. it takes five years to close even a bad school because it's really a problem for families if a school closes. i don't think we are at all on a path that we should say we have sort of got a paradigm shift that we need. i think we are very far from it. hopefully, these kinds of conversations will help us a little. >> i think we've got a great idea for a daylong panel. one last question before. i do, this is at the conclusion of this wonderful discussion we have had, i do need to point out
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there are number of upcoming events at the national press club. i would like to draw attention to a few of those. october 2, there will be a national press club luncheon with arne duncan, the secretary of education. that's at the press club. september 13, there will be a luncheon with the president of the international brotherhood of teamsters. september 6, kathleen turner, actress, will be speaking at the press club. on september 12, tony perkins, president of the family research council will be talking about a number of things in addition to the horrible shooting that happened at his office in chinatown. very last question goes to the gentleman in the back. >> i'm interested in finding out to what extent for-profit schools are a factor in primary and secondary education?
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are they an increasing presence and is there data comparing their performance to public and other non-profit schools? >> right now we are seeing for- profit schools largely out growing and extending through the charter school sector, about 35% of the nation's charter schools operated by because education management associations. half of them are for-profit and half of them are non-profit. states where there is larger concentrations of nonprofits, they tend to perform better. states with high concentrations of for-profit schools tend to perform less well. the research on a for-profit schools, and after depend on what they say, themselves. they tend to say they do really well. independent research shows they are not performing very well. there has been a lot of concern recently about the level of profit making. that frustrates me sometimes, because i always thought wonder, especially when these concerns
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are raised by policy makers. why shouldn't we be concerned about that? they are for-profit companies we have invited into the education sector. they are doing what they are designed to do, which is to pursue private interests and pursue profit. the big dilemma is, coming back to the issue of a thoughtful policy making, how do we put in place the proper incentives and the rights safeguards so if we are going to have these operators in the public school sector, how can they pursue the public good in the public's interest? they are increasingly getting attention because of the level of profit from some of the companies that game the system. but they are doing what they are designed to do. it is an issue for policy makers that we have to think about better ways to put in place of safeguards and incentives so they will pursue the public good. >> all right. i want to thank our panelists for being here. it's been a thought-provoking
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conversation. and thank you to our c-span audience. have a wonderful day. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] every minute, every speech live on c-span, c-span radio and online at c-span.org. featured speakers include and romney monday night, new jersey governor chris christie with a keynote address tuesday. congressman poe wine delivers his vice presidential acceptance speech wednesday. thursday night presidential nominee mitt romney. user online convention have to watch web exclusive video feeds, create and share video clips can
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add your comments and connect with other viewers all at c-span.org/campaign 2012. >> what do we see when we look at the dead? they respond to this and come to dominant ways. one, by describing those bodies in great detail. and then often stopping in the middle of that very detailed description and then saying, it's too horrible. i cannot actually put this into words. words cannot convey this. ..
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>> sunday at 7:30, american history tv this weekend on c-span3. >> now, a look at how recent procedural changes in congress have changed how the institution works. former u.s. house parliamentarian charles johnson describes how trends in today's congress suggests a retreat from the collegiality and compromise of other congresses. following his remarks, he takes questions from the u.s. capitol historical society audience. this is just over an hour. [applause] >> thank you, don.
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i did a brown bag, i'm just reminded by the curator being the next speaker, i did a brown bag presentation 10 or 15 years ago. bud brown was the head of the historical society, and i think both people there really enjoyed it. [laughter] so this is, this is good. but i'm honored to be able to do this. as don said, my co-author and i have just submitted an updated version in paperback will be only a quarter of the cost which seems to have inhibited some of my so-called friends from purchasing -- [laughter] although i know crs has gotten more than they need. and in it i, in it i -- we have
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a revised preface. they allowed us some liberties to talk about changes since the '09 version which have been considerable. and what i want to do is start off by reading the last paragraph of my portion of the new preface to give you a sense of the trends and processes put in place in both houses over the last three years. but it's definitely a follow-on from what we write about through our expansion of 40 year period. bill was house of commons, sir william, the same time that i was parliamentarian. and for the same 40 years we served in those respective offices and had a lot of exchanges. brian lamb, through c-span, was kind enough after i did retire three years ago to host us on
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"q&a," and it got some coverage, some surprise viewers. my most amusing moment during that was when brian in the middle of the interview held up the book which i'd given him, and he said, charlie, tell the viewers how much this book costs. it doesn't seem to say anything on the cover. [laughter] i said, brian, why are you asking me that? i gave you that book. [laughter] but i had to admit, it was a little pricey. but that was the publisher's choice. let me read you this paragraph, and then we'll go from there, and i really would be much prefer, much prefer responses to questions. this is, this is what i say. the institutional trends in congress, since those described at pages 547 of the earlier book, suggest a retreat further away from the collegiality, spontaneity, openness and compromise that characterized
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earlier congresses. little institutional memory remains among -- remained among members to enable recall of those practices and norms. increased partisanship and stalemate motivated by a win every vote mentality of house majorities and implemented by reapportionments, liberalized campaign financing and messaging, negative personal attacks to which i would add the demise of second residences at the seat of government and the consequence, lack of social interaction across the center aisle as the house meets many fewer weeks, constant, constant editorialized press coverage and instant publication of political polling results demanding
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immediate members' responses. polls, polling taken from televised press accounts which suggest to some members that they respond immediately before they can think of what they're going to say. and manipulation of standing rules to restrict minority options have all contributed to that condition in the house. in the senate some of those factors combined with constant use of the threat of filibusters to even begin consideration of measures requiring three-fifths votes to limit haven -- have enhanced minority leverage beyond any measures in the not so distant pass. so that's kind of the way i wrap up my portion of this new, this new preface which my colleague describes as, quote, melancholy, unquote. he doesn't necessarily say cynical, nor would i admit that.
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but let's just take a few of the comments. and, clearly, what i'm going to say is not any new information. i mean, writers and others have commented in the press and in books about these trends. i haven't seen yet a good suggestion about remedies, but maybe we can talk about that toward the end. but since i finished up in that reading talking about the senate, let me just embark there briefly because i don't like to dwell on the senate. every time i was working in the house and i felt frustrated or confused, i would say to myself you're a lot better off being in the house than the senate. [laughter] and for a lot of reasons, that's true. but in 1957, this is an interesting an anecdote, but it speaks to the problem right now,
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richard nixon was in the chair on january 4th. some of you may know this, it doesn't get publicized. and hubert humphrey and others were beginning to prepare for the filibusters in the '57 civil rights act. and hubert humphrey had a parliamentary inquiry of the speaker, of the president of the senate who happened to be richard m. nixon presiding in the senate deliberately because he wanted to respond to this inquiry knowing it was coming. it wasn't a point of order, and the senate parliamentarians would say for that reason it's not precedent. but it certainly speaks volumes. and nixon, the point of order -- the parliamentary inquiry was cannot the senate at the organization of a new senate adopt rules by majority vote under the constitution? and that, of course, is an ongoing debate. last year tom udall and others led an unsuccessful fight.
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they got a few minor concessions at the end. but nixon gives this long explanation on why absolutely he feels very strongly that the senate -- call it a continuing body with one-third turnover -- can by majority vote ignoring its two-thirds requirement for shutting off debates which is on rules changes which is still true on rules changes, can by majority vote adopt new rules. and that was kind of hidden. i don't know at whose behest, but so much else has happened since then in the senate that the senate would never admit, senate parliamentarians and senators -- certainly robert byrd would never have admitted that that is a precedent in the senate. and then i think talking to marty gold later on about that, and he said, oh, yes, nixon was trying to become friendly with
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the pro-civil rights movement in '57 which he felt politically motivated nixon to make that comment from the chair. but it speaks volumes. january 4, '57. you can, you can find that. and so in our book and elsewhere and there are, there's a young lady here who has spoken just recently at a, at a conference on, called wither conferences, conferences between the house and senate. and i've tried -- i first in doing the book, i had to try to familiarize myself with senate process. because it was always 95% of the time when the house wanted to know what the senate might do or might not do, it was impossible to get information because unlike the house, the senate doesn't have a rules committee that can give the leadership a
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advanced heads up if something's not to their liking to which they could get a waiver, points of order. everything in the senate now be virtually requires a three-fifths vote for anything, be it budget act, scope, what have you. and so the demise of conference, i can't blame either party. and i say blame because i feel, as i think, elizabeth, post of of -- most of the people at that conference felt, it should be resurrected. it's regular order in a traditional sense, certainly. it brings more clarity, it brings minority involvement at least potentially to the issue, it brings a legislative record in the form of a joint statement of managers. all those aspects of conference procedures are, are gone when the house plays and senate play ping-pong or use the amendment tree to go back and forth. combined with what i think and
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what i think my former colleague, alan fuhrman, would agree and has said so, maybe said so at this gathering, is somewhat of an abuse of the so-called amendment tree process where the senate majority leader being entitled to prior recognition fills the tree with however many numbered amendments or degrees of moment are required in order to shut off all other amendments. from any other senator. and then he'll try to invoke -- he still needs a cloture vote except on reconciliation, say, but he still -- he needs a three-fifths vote, but he only needs one. he doesn't need four or more to go to conference as they would, as the senate would if they proceeded to disagreeing with the house, agreeing to go to conference, naming conferees and then with motions to instruct conferees. those are all potential filibusterable motions in the senate. and that's been avoided.
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and more often than not since speaker pelosi and speaker boehner to some extent, the most recent example is on the highway conference which never made it to a conference report but which was thrown in as amendments between the houses. but that is, that is the reality. and in the house, the house has gone along with it because the house can avoid minority motions to instruct and minority motions to recommit. and those can be problematic, especially after 20 days with the conferees having not having agreed. any member of the house can offer a problematic motion to instruct conferees as long as it's an instruction within the real scope of ditches. differences. so that was the reason for the house leadership to avoid conference. and also motions to recommit a conference report afterwards.
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but more important was the ability of the rules committee then to come along and say we're not, we're not going to give the minority even a motion to recommit on any of these. we don't have to under the rules of the house. the only guarantee of the motion to recommit for the minority in the house is initial passage. but if it comes to disposition of amendments between the houses, there need not be a motion to recommit offered to any minority member. so that's just an example of how minority procedural rights which are in the standing rules have diminished through recent custom and tradition. now, the term "regular order" is thrown around a lot. and what is regular orderly these days? nobody can say. regular order is what happens
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today and tomorrow in the house, but it almost is, equates to gridlock. regular orderly is gridlock and has been for at least since the senate and house -- [inaudible] and certainly since the senate majority has had an inordinate amount of ability to stop procedures. so i want to talk about some of the irregular orderlies that we've had. despite thomas diswreferson's add no riggs -- jefferson's add mow in addition from -- admonition. he was writing a manual as vice president of the senate, but the senate has never adopted jefferson's manual. he was saying not so important what the rule is, but that there be a rule, a consistent rule, and the members know what it is. well, parliaments all over the world, clerks, members say what
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is, why don't you adhere to what jefferson suggested, that namely the standing rules which as some of you know guarantee minority participation on virtually every bill initially in the house through the five-minute rule and committee of the whole, and a number of other guarantees that are short circuited, not to speak of waivers which are constant through the rules committee. by the way, that's another reason that conference, the procedure on conferences has changed, because the rules committee always gives a blanket waiver of any rule coming to the floor of the house be it a scope violation, legislation on an appropriation bill. the house rules committee will give the necessary waiver which can be adopted overnight by a majority vote. that majority vote emanating from a committee that has a 9-4 ratio. that, although someone told me the other day it's only 8-4, in
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fact, right now, republicans to democrats. but that 2 to 1 ratio or 2 to 1 plus 1 is a tradition at the house. it's one tradition they have here regardless of the composition of the whole house. but it means -- and those nine are hand selected by the speaker. the majority conference and caucus rules do not require those names to be ratified by the conference or caucus. those rule committee members are the speaker's leadership people, fully expected to do the business of the leadership, propose its agenda. and it even, it even gets down into the weeds when if you all stayed up until three in the morning, used to be more three in the morning. david dreier has made their meeting times a little more regular, but very often to watch the amendment process develop in the rules committee, what
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amendments to make in order because when i started, every bill had an open rule. think and all germane agreements, second-degree amendments, substitutes. not at all anymore. it's one amendment, only a first-degree amendment, in a prescribed order as determined by the rules committee usually on separate party line votes. and if, i saw this happen at three and four in the morning on a number of occasions, if sight unseen a majority whip -- the members aren't even there -- got wind of the fact that an amendment was in the works to be offered by a minority member and they weren't sure what it was, but it was going to cause problems with members' voting records, it was going to be embarrassing, it was going to be uncertain, no one knew if it was on order or not, let's just not make it an order. so that attitude going into some committee meetings was, at least when i was there, a deliberate
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and motivated -- the fact that it was not, you could describe it as leadership from the top down, but in those cases it was the whip's staff telling the majority leader's staff, telling the speaker's staff, telling the rules committee that they're concerned about an amendment, whether they'd seen it or not. and that's wrong. i mean, the minority, it's the win at all costs attitude, win every vote attitude that drives so much. and, of course, you can trace that to the polarization of the whole country. but during my first 30 years, there was not, never a real fear. democrats always had substantial majorities. but the speaker didn't fear losing from time to time on the floor of the house. they figured they could resurrect whatever position they wanted to with the senate conference or wherever. but now losing one vote, and both parties when in the majority have been characterized by this, they don't want to
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allow anything to happen that will appear not only to jeopardize final passage, but that will convince their members that they can put together a coalition, a bipartisan coalition that may win. that attitude, i don't think -- and i'm speaking from a distance now, although as don said, i do, i'm a consultant, and i've, i have an office in the capitol, and i talk to my former colleagues all the time -- i still get a sense that that's what drives the rules committee through their nine members. but i mentioned in the paragraph i read no institutional memory. the greatest turnover in the house, a lot of new members not only don't understand the traditions that so long ago were the norm, but they don't want to hear about them, and they campaigned against them in a number of campaigns this last
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vote, in 2010. members would say, we're not going to vote for regular order. we're not going to vote o for openness. we're going to vote for our ideological agenda. and the leaderships, both leaderships, have not been particularly willing to allow the new members to be oriented on process in a bipartisan way. i mean, our office always used to do orientations for the members. and now it's, it sometimes happens, but some leaders especially don't want their members to know what it used to be like. and, for example, the motion to recommit, this is a bone i've picked with c-span. the motion to recommit, i feel i can do this. brian lamb is retired, so he won't come after me. [laughter] maybe he will. in the caption when a motion to recommit is pending in the house, there'll be a caption there saying procedural vote.
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on the motion to recommit. well, the motion to recommit is often anything but procedural. it's a substantive amendment. and to describe it as procedural , it does enhance the new member's willingness to follow the so-called tradition that party loyalty demands straight party line vote on anything procedural. i mean never -- no better demonstrated than with the motion on the previous question on a rule. those of you who follow debates on rules will often see the minority go off for a half an hour on its own agenda, or on fairness in the rules committee. and that, that is all -- all that's described as procedural. but when the actual text is in front of the house, and i've seen two or three times 1985 a major crime bill was rewritten on a republican motion to recommit where the test of germaneness had disappeared, it was an omnibus continuing
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appropriation bill with seven or eight other titles. there was no germaneness rule with which to ply. and dan lundgren, if you catch dan lundgren in the hall, have him tell you the story about his motion to recommit on the crime bill and how it was so substantive and so immediate and so much by surprise. but that's not what both minority leadership -- majority leaderships want to tolerate anymore. now, i say gridlock is regular order, and when you look at some of the recent packaging of measures, i mean, omnibus appropriation bills are the most consistent recent examples of where either or both houses don't finish the regular appropriation bills on time, they're left to use a continuing, and perhaps then to do an omni bill, an omnibus
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appropriation big consistenting of all the bills maybe with one or two exceptions, package them into one bill toward the end of a congress and always near the end of a term of a recess, beginning a recess or an adjournment. i have in the original version of the book, i have what i describe as the inverse ratio axiom which always proves to be true. it has again this year. although this new so-called agreement on a continuing which will be put in legislative form in september may be a departure from that. but my theory is the more complex, the more costly, the more urgent a bill is and the closer you're coming to an adjournment period to give people something to go home and talk about that they voted for, the less time members have to understand what's in the bill. i mean, that -- evidently, i
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didn't hear her say this, but pelosi's comment be after -- actually, it was during, i think, the final debate on the health care bill. you know, we need your vote, we have to have this vote. you can read about what's in it tomorrow. or later. [laughter] i mean, that's just -- but that's -- and the republicans have come along and ostensibly tried to recapture some openness on appropriation bills. they had that marathon on a, on an appropriation, the omnibus appropriation bill early in 2011, like two or three hundred amendments, four or five days and nights if only to show members that openness was unworkable. [laughter] they had a few ore others, but then again last year and this year the appropriations process has stalled when the more problematic bills would have trouble in the house and might probably wouldn't even get called up in the senate. i mean, the senate is totally imbue with the this notion that
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all we have to do is an omnibus at the end of the session. they don't want to bring, they don't want to bring individual appropriation bills to the floor for all the filibuster possibilities that accrue to the minority. but the worst other than the appropriations bill that i saw was the budget control act. and it may come up again. i can't get a clear read on whether the budget, whether the debt limit needs to be extended again in the lame duck session. i mean, part of the agreement in the budget control act was that there'll be a couple of extensions through election day of this year so that the president won't have to advocate another, another debt limit increase in return for, obviously, for the, for major cuts in spending. and as it emerge through
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sequestration when the so-called joint select committee which was doomed from the outset, it seemed, did not report. the sequestration is in place and potentially takes place, takes effect next january. so, but the leveraging of full faith and credit and the impact throughout the world with spending cuts and other savings however reached made an impact beyond the threat of a shutdown of the government. a shutdown -- i was here for the shutdown of the government in '59 and '96. -- '95 and '96. it was problematic, but eventually some to have d.s, it wasn't all of the departments that were affected, but they were reopened. the impact of full faith and credit, to my way of thinking, should never be the leverage for
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spending. but i listened to many debates, and it got harder and harder over time for congress to pass a separate debt limit extension. it got very hard. and this time it appeared impossible to the leadership. and probably was. but there was never a clear vote taken in the house on a debt limit extension that was not linked to spending cuts. and so that packaging whether that's regular order because it's happened once in a very dramatic way, whether something will happen again during the lame duck session, i mean, the lame duck session has a variety of issues; tax cuts, sequestrationing being, i guess, the most prominent. and the notion of a lame duck session and not knowing who the
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members are going to be next congress. there have been so many lame duck sessions which are relied upon these days, to me, it's most unfortunate. but let me just mention three other areas of change, and ethics, personalization of ethical charges against members has become a real pattern for minority leaderships particularly. when newt gingrich ascended to prominence, it was in part because of what he had said and provoked about jim wright's relatively insignificant royalty discrepancies. and jim wright resigned before he ever really got a full report from the ethics committee. but that set the patten. and certainly -- pattern. and certainly in newt's mind and others, the demonization of members was really the way of
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the future. and that's been proven clearly since then with members who are successful in negative messaging in defeating their incumbent opponents then being seated in the house and having to deal with friends of these former members. it's not an invitation to collegiality, clearly. but then when nancy pelosi very strongly lobbied that the republican leadership after 12 years had become as corrupt a as the republicans said the democrats had become in 0 years, and those were -- i won't say that's a quote, but that was her theme in 2006 before the election. and examples that accrued during that period of chairman and, certainly, tom delay and others. and then she wove it in not only
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is the house being mismanaged, but it's unethical. the leadership is unethical. so she was taking definitely a page out of newt gingrich's book, i believe, in that respect. and so far this year i don't see that becoming an issue with the democrats. at least i don't think any particular republican's ethics -- i mean, several have resigned in order to, under pressure from the leadership to avoid these becoming campaign issues. but pelosi not only said there's an ethical problem, but we're going to be more open on the amendment process. we're going to be much fairer to the minority. when we're in the majority. and then, of course, they ratcheted up the use of the rules committee even further than the republicans had to shut off the minority in many amendment situations which certainly did not end dear her
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to -- endear her to the republican leadership. not only she appeared to have made some political headway, but she was not particularly being truthful to her earlier campaign pledge of openness. i mentioned the press coverage of congress and how, i mean, so many completing networks -- competing networks, many networks and cable stations who are editorializing. and members feel they need to immediately respond, and then they get polls on their response. all of that, the media's definitely impacting on, on the way members deliberate among themselveses. themselves. maybe a watershed moment was back in 984. it's one of the difficult days we had when newt gingrich was starting to emerge as a back
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bencher, and in 1984 tip o'neill wasser, -- was speaker. and the cameras just focused on the member. and newt would use rhetorical gestures and comments to say i'll yield to eddie to defend his iran contra -- eddie was 500 miles away, but gingrich would be seen gesturing, and then he'd say, well, the gentleman doesn't want to engage in this debate. clearly, inappropriate. [laughter] and tip got so upset that he ordered the cameras, without notice -- and that was a mistake on his part -- to pan the chamber. and he had asked joe moakley, his top assistant, to -- his friend from massachusetts and not yet chairman of the rules committee but soon to be -- to be in the chair. i remember hearing it. joe, i may be out of order, but with i want you to protect me as he stepped down into the well to give this speech. and pointing at gingrich and
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saying the reason i ordered the cameras to pan the chamber is because what you've did is the lowest thing i've ever seen. 35 years, the lowest thing. that, in our mind, bill brown and i were both up there, was a personality against another member. he can't set a precedent that members can go around accusing each other in debate of the lowest thing. moakley said, well, i'm not going to rule that way. well, it'll be a precedent. plus, you can't set a double standard for the speaker. i'm not going to rule that way because it's true. so he wanted to establish truth as a defense against anything said on the floor. and if the person sitting in the chair thought it was true, point of order's overruled. but that launched gingrich. that got a lot of press at the time in '84, and it really got him started through his group of members who even though the cameras were panning the name w- the chamber, they still used
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those speakers. obviously, reapportionment plays, plays an important role on how primaries are held, how moderates do or do not show up, how i think still many states reapportion with their members, for their members in congress assuming that the state legislature, legislators may one day have an eye on the house seat and want to endear themselves to the present incumbent of that seat. so reapportionment and the politicization of it and the mid-decade use of it in texas is clearly part of what's led to polarization in congress. but i'll just stop talking about money for a minute because, to me, that's the key. the citizens united case, i feel, was unfortunate. but what i want and i can't really predict yet is for people to understand the impact of super pac messaging on
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congressional races. i have read and talked to some people that members are already, since the decision, are already catering to messaging emerging from super pacs in order to endear themselves to that kind of last minute injection of spending in unlimited amounts. and that, i'm sure someone will trace that sooner or later. but that, to me, there's so much money in the system. i thought after the abramoff scandal there'd be some kind of real reform in the lobbying area, but just other loopholes seem to be appearing. and what's really concerned me over the years is the member-to-member contributions which done get as much criticism, but you combine those with term limits -- term limits on chairmen, and then a charm
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can start to -- chairman can start to develop an expertise, and this has happened on both sides, and then in six years they're lame ducks and, you know, people are vying for those slots, and it's the steering committees on both sides that are gonna decide that, and the major test in a number of cases has been who upped the ante on the amount of money from the members' pac into the leadership pac. to me, that's corrupting. and that's not, you know, it used to be just cash under the table in the old days. [laughter] which, obviously, is prohibited. but that kind of member-to-member and leadership pac influence on members is distressing. so there's kind of an overview. don mentioned that i was, i was doing -- i was still under consultation. the house precedence, which some of you are aware of, the final
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volume on the budget process, volume 18, will be out, hopefully, by the end of this year. it's going to be -- it's long and difficult, and we've had a lot of help from folks in this room. but at the end of it will be a narrative, so-called appendix which i'm doing, i've almost finished it, which will basically be a 50-year overview of procedural changes in the house primarily during that period since the last publication of deschler brown's precedent. so being able to write that narrative which will help our editors on dates and give them a road map to know what to include if and when those precedents are republished has been, i think, important to the history of the house, and it's being reviewed by a number of people. but that should be out there at the end of this year. so, of course, i invite your attention to that.
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but let's just, let me just really open up for as many questions as you have. yeah. >> mr. johnson -- [inaudible] norm ornstein's book, i think it's called "even worse than it looks," and their theme is that the problem solvers aren't here anymore, the o'neills and those guys, and that's probably a victim. and they speak broadly about republicans, but let's go back to your comment about gingrich and the whole jim wright business. would you just comment on that sort of as a trend over the period you served? >> well, i think that's true. how can a leader be an elected leader if he's conceived as being conciliatory? john boehner goes through that every day. i'm not saying that he's not. i think he certainly tries in a number of respects. he was and is definitely considered to be bringing back more openness in the house.
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but whether deals can be done in conference, whether members have the time and the inclination to even talk to each other maybe at the committee levels, but even committees where there is an open process, i mean, the committees do follow the five-minute rule. they can't just impose a gag order on amendments unless there's a drastic motion for the previous question. but, no, i would say that it's definitely harder for members to have that stature and get elected. now, that's not to say that those who are elected can't do it. they're obviously responsible to their caucuses. but clearly folks like -- they had different traditions. i mean, boehner does remember when he started, there was still a sense of openness. i mean, modified closed rules didn't really begin until the late '80s and only selectively. and the republicans certainly
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perfected the art form, and then the democrats did one up on them when they took the majority. so i would, i mean, it is a leadership issue. that's the key. can a person be elected who has that sense if not that history in and if so, can he exercise it on a regular basis and still be leader? to me, that's just from a nonpartisan point of view -- >> demise of the grand bargain last year is an example -- >> well, the so-called, i assume you're talking about the simpson-bowles arrangement is that when -- >> first the debt ceiling. >> oh, well -- >> grand bargain. >> which kind of flowed from the failure of the simpson-bowles proposal to be -- i mean, what really distressed me just the other day was steve latourette's resignation.
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you kind of just want to repeat his punchline at the end which was devastating and very poignant. he offered the simpson-bowles budget, amendment to the budget resolution and went down in flames. so the ability of moderates to influence policy needs to be, i mean, the american people have to be aware of it, and i don't know how that, how that happens. but it has to happen over time. yes. >> so what would your specific recommendations for procedural reform be, and how would that go about happening? are there signs that you've seen that folks are actually interested in, on the house side -- >> on the house side? >> -- moving towards that? >> it depends on the composition of the next house, i think. but i mean, again, i'm not privy to a lot of day-to-day
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discussions among rules committee people. i know chairman dreier has that institutional sense. if he had his druthers, he perhaps would have been able to advocate more openness. there has been, as i said, there's been a return to some openness. but as long as the rules committee can bring overnight a rules change that completely changes the standing rules -- except you can't deny the motion to recommit. in every other respect the rules committee on a daily basis, i mean, parliamentarians around the world are incredulous when i tell them that because all parliaments basically follow a standing order agenda. the house doesn't. and the senate, of course, is driven by the, by the filibuster where at least i'm hearing the possibility of three-fifth votes
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on motions to proceed so the leadership's agenda, the majority leader's agenda can at least get started before filibustering can kick in. i don't know the chances of that, i don't know whether it's being negotiated. but in the house, the house has a history of superimposing new budget constraints on itself. right, bill? and then as the need arises, waiving them. i'll never forget there was the alternative minimum tax a few year ago when for the first time the pay-for restriction in the rules, and democrats were in control, that the blue dogs championed, they had it offset. essentially, the alternative minimum tax which was the tax hedge fund managers at ordinary rates of income. made perfect sense for the most
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part. but some in the senate, republicans and democrats, struck that, and it came back to the house on christmas eve, and it was an up or down vote because the tax, the tax forms had to be finalized on what would the alternative minimum taxes going to be. the house was going to capitulate by waiving the paygo requirement for, that this hedge fund tax increase revenue offset the cost of the extension of the alternative minimum tax. and a good friend of mine, john tanner, who at that time was heading up the blue dog caucus, he'd given 20 or 30 speeches on debt and deficit. ..
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all that is wholly i ask the house to insists -- this was christmas eve -- but it didn't work. i don't have any panacea for it. it is a matter of will and how congress reacts to public opinion and whether the public has a sense that there has to be more fairness in congress. >> would it entail to fix the problem would it entail new rules being passed by congress?
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or would it entails leadership simply returning to the old rules? >> both. tomorrow the leadership could return to enforcement of different standards if it wanted to through the rules committee on an ad hoc basis or even the outstanding rules before the session is over. technically it is there for the asking. majority vote situation in the house and the senate. i can remember many frustrations warehouse leadership couldn't even find out until the last moment what the senate might for might not do on a matter and senate parliamentarians were not free to give any information out. it was very frustrating because leadership could understand the agenda and the majoritarian
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approach on a daily basis. i don't think they're necessarily has to be a way but how leadership now can in the last two months a here is our new emphasis on openness, conciliation, may be the proof will be in a lame-duck session. i don't see it before the lame-duck session. >> there was a new rule barring commemoratives resolutions and as i remember it, it said it shall be returned to the representative which means to me it never happened. to what extent can the congress bar introduction of a resolution based on the subject matter? >> it can and the rule has been in place sins 95 when republicans put in place which means a proliferation -- for
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everybody. every little winning team or talent or whatever. the problem with the rules that they wrote is there are loopholes in it. you can enter and you see commemoratives not as frequently on suspension all the time. you don't get unanimous consent anymore the way it used to take a lot of time. rather than put a specific date the commemoratives required a specific date or period of time for honoring the occasion. rather than put in the body of the resolution they put it in the preamble so it is just a sense and there should be -- that was the way around it but as the way we return there are many times when we saw a bill that was clearly commemoratives over the years. and would have to change it so
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the emphasis was put into the preamble or some other way it was done. the public wouldn't know that because of the press release, the rules said shall not introduce or accept. that was the responsibility of the parliamentarians. >> you describe in procedure, >> the parliamentarians in the parliamentarian's role the relationship of the parliamentarians to the presiding officer or the leadership. >> very good question. the answer is yes. not necessarily in a negative way. the house decisionmaking is so front end loaded through the rules committee, structured rules, the role of the parliamentarians was much more
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spontaneous and unpredictable because any and all germain amendments, motion, could spring up without notice. now most rules virtually eliminate all those uncertainties so the ability of the parliamentarian requirement to give immediate advice to a person in the chair is much diminished. on the other hand the parliamentarians are always devising any member who wants to go before the committee on whether their amendments would be germane or subject to a point or so. there is more of that from end loading of decisionmaking but electronic -- the electronic ways of communication have changed the dynamic of the relationships between members of the personal staff and parliamentarians. someone will send an amendment as germane and here is why. you never see them. more often than not. here is another version.
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how does this look? that was my biggest challenge. i have worked 30 years in my own time for democratic speakers and when newt gingrich became speaker there was real question about whether he was going to clean house. i had just been named three months over by speaker foley who was defeated. there was pressure for all of us which by definition would have been unfortunate because anyone he had chosen had to have been partisan. to my last day i will defend and both sides feel that parliamentarians had not been partisan. that has resulted in another trend which is the proliferation until this year of appeals from rulings of the chair where
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members don't distinguish between rules and rulings and the rules committee can be very unfair. if a member wants to say i should have been allowed to offer this amendment will will out of order they repeal it and before any of the republicans discovered this technique would appeal rulings with the chair and both sides would politicize votes on those appeals as votes on substance of the issue of the amendment and within minutes there has been operations would say this is how members felt about an issue which was clearly not germane on the substance of the issue. not on the correctness of the chair's ruling. so that trend was unheard of for the most part when i was there and it has abated again and democrats are not using it as much but to politicize those votes and have it immediately messageed into vulnerable
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districts, rodgers wrote about this a few years ago. it is another example of how the respect in some minds at least for a while of the process that had been diminished because of frustration on the part of both minorities being allowed to do what they would otherwise be allowed to do but when it comes to personal relationships with speaker and parliamentarians they have been good not perhaps as intimate as nancy pelosi but john solomon, my successor enjoy it good professional relationship and john boehner, so to that extent -- what concerns me most in recruiting young people to be in that the nonpartisan job because they see the house and they don't see the dynamism or spontaneity or friendships that i saw during my
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formative years and perhaps they don't develop affection for the house. is harder to do these days as i did the and the sentiment was very sustaining for me over many years. whether the new folks that are coming along can look beyond that and say we are here to do a job for the house of representatives regardless of the politics is a real challenge. >> do you think the tea party will infuse more openness and transparency in congress? >> that is hard to predict. the idea of do they want openness or they just want their agenda? i don't know. if the debt limit issue is any indication -- not saying that was driven purely by the tea party -- i don't know the answer
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to your question. that is not a parliamentary inquiry. [laughter] >> i have read many sources that they feel the friendships have broken down in congress because congressmen fly home on the weekends and there is not these relationships such as reagan had with tip o'neill. people don't stay in town and have dinner parties with one another and cocktail parties that they had previously. >> absolutely. i inject the demise of second residences as indication of that and when they are in town there are fund-raisers every tuesday and wednesday on both sides and may be thursday.
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that clearly doesn't encourage members's families to socialize after hours. there is no argument that with your observation. it is very unfortunate. there were some great and maybe there still are at many levels. may be in the gymnasium, bipartisan friendships can cultivate in from time to time--when there's a bipartisan bill that passes the house it seems to me these members go overboard talking about how it was a great bipartisan effort. may be peanuts but they are sensitive to what they can do about it. that is another question. yes? >> how extensive are the differences among the parliamentary systems around the world? are they more homogeneous or are they as varied as between hours
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-- >> ours is unique because it is not a parliamentary system. it is headed in that direction where the government is in parliament and as is the case in most parliaments in the world where the executive branch serves within the legislative branch. with our separation of powers, house, senate and limitation on power it is unique. when visitors come. there are some quasi systems that follow the u.s. model. when i talk to people in normally suggest that they not just do it as a knee-jerk reaction. i would say -- i have never done a real survey on worldwide parliamentary systems and the
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consistencies in most if you use the british as the mother of parliaments which they like to do it is amazing how our system deviates from there is that they have a commonwealth system and many other prominents throughout the world. basically follow the parliamentary system. i went to kenya right before the riots. the main issue was the election, disputed where the current president probably lost and tribal writing, really horrible. one of the first reforms they did, they created the office of prime minister in addition to president and his opponent may be sir sins that capacity so you have opposing parties, one as president and one as prime minister and a number of countries have those positions
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